If it is even possible for a Beatles album to be somewhat underappreciated, Magical Mystery Tour is that album. Maybe it's the cover image of the Fab Four dressed in wholly ridiculous garb; that image is rather offsetting. As for the music, it's something of an odd mix of songs. The first six tracks come from the rather obscure television film Magical Mystery Tour, and the remaining five are made up of singles added to the pot in order to cook up enough material for an American album release. Thus, what you end up with is not a concept album such as the incredible Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band but rather a densely packed collection of huge hits complemented by several other very fine songs in their own right. Of the seven tracks, seven are bonafide Beatles classics: Magical Mystery Tour, The Fool On the Hill, I Am the Walrus, Hello Goodbye, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, and All You Need Is Love. The last of these songs became a veritable theme song for the culture of love thriving at the time of this album's release in 1967. I Am the Walrus is unquestionably the strangest song the Beatles ever released, but John's unique delivery of the seemingly nonsense lyrics is inherently fascinating. I don't even need to expound upon the fascinating, psychedelic, and wholly unique Strawberry Fields Forever. Besides being two of the Beatles' most amazing songs, I Am the Walrus and Strawberry Fields Forever also hold an important place in the mythology of the Beatles, supposedly containing clues pointing to the "death" of Paul. The four less familiar tracks are rather remarkable in themselves. Your Mother Should Know and Baby You're a Rich Man are fun and somewhat bouncy little tunes. Flying is a short instrumental (short being the best kind of instrumental in my opinion) that is notable for its existence as such among the Beatles discography. Then there is Blue Jay Way, George Harrison's sole contribution to the album. It is a terrific song wholly in keeping with the strange, oriental-influenced type of psychedelic sound showcased in Sgt. Pepper's Within You, Without You. It is a pity that George Harrison was never allowed to contribute more than one or two songs to any Beatles release because his songs prove the most fascinating and oddly compelling of all the group's recordings. Clearly, this is an album all Beatles fans should cherish and listen to on a fairly regular basis. Few Greatest Hits albums can boast as many chart toppers as Magical Mystery Tour can.
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